Thursday, December 24, 2009

Scoundrel Suraiya

[Update: Some readers seem to have a problem with the word 'scoundrel.' Read the quote at the end of the post to see where it comes from -- it dates back to Samuel Johnson aka Dr. Johnson.]

Jug Suraiya may not like the idea of carving new states out of existing ones; he violates all norms of debating ethics in equating the demand for smaller states to treason:

Should Pakistan's ISI give a medal to K Chandrasekhara Rao, the spear leader of the separate Telangana movement? Or to Mayawati who wants a separate Bundelkhand, and to those who are clamouring for Harit Pradesh, Vidarbha and Gorkhaland?

The ISI has always wanted to balkanise India, to break it up into small bits and pieces which can be gobbled up at will, or left to languish in their fragmented insignificance. Are those who are agitating for smaller and smaller Indian states willy-nilly doing the ISI's job for it?

What is worse, this trash appears right at the beginning of Suraiya's post, which just goes to show that Ambrose Bierce is right:

Patriotism, n. In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first. -- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


  1. Anonymous said...

    Which norms exactly did he break? He has an opinion, he said it, cogently.

    You are the person equating his comment to patriotism and treason, I don't see either there.

    Sorting algorithms should stick to sorting.

  2. Anonymous said...

    Abi, you have really lost your mind. Stop this.

  3. Anonymous said...

    I pity your students.

  4. Anonymous said...

    All I have seen is angst and cynicism from you. You seem incapable of any other emotion.

    Consult a psychologist or psychoanalyst soon.

    I pity both your students and colleagues !

  5. Rahul Siddharthan said...

    Suraiya has lost it. If he ever had it. I had issues with his recent article on global warming, but this takes the cake. Perhaps the original states reorganisation committee was treasonous too? Perhaps it was treasonous to break up the Madras Presidency and Bombay Presidency? Perhaps the evil hand of Pakistan was behind that too?

    Hyderabad state originally wanted to be independent. Nobody in today's Telengana is asking for independence. Where does this talk of "balkanistan" come from?

  6. Anonymous said...

    Where does he say "treason" in the article?

  7. Anonymous said...

    Abi has lost it. If he ever had it. I had issues with his recent article on Farewell to the Iron Man, but this takes the cake.

  8. Anonymous said...

    Rahul whether suriaya is right or wrong not the issue. Do you really support Abi branding someone as scoundral just becuase he does not agree with him? He seems to be abusing everyone he does not like
    be it NRN, LK Aadvani or shiva of CSIR fame. Either he is total nutcase or ultra leftist.
    Would it be ok if we start calling scoundral Abi because he is leftist?

  9. Anonymous said...

    anon 8:

    Either he is a total nutcase or ultra leftist.

    Normally "either...or" is reserved for opposites. So I guess "total nutcase"=ultra rightist?

  10. Anonymous said...

    Abi It is time to pull back. Many of your followers are dismayed by the increasing verbal violence in your posts. It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable. If you are being provocative in order to attract more coments, it is not really desirable. In deference to the comments , replace scoundrel with a less virulent invective
    Yiur well wisher

  11. Anonymous said...

    Anon 9: ultra left is total nutcase with criminal intent such as naxalites. That is my reason for either/ or

  12. Anonymous said...


    Jug crossed a line with the reference to ISI etc. There was no need to do one better from this side though with the "scxxndrxl" thing.

    That article ends thusly:

    " ..Are those agitating for smaller states unwittingly falling into the ISI's snare? Or are their demands justified and, if met, will they buttress the republic, not break it?.."

    Omitting the second half, as you have, it reads rather differently.


  13. Anonymous said...


    The origin of the quote was hardly ever in doubt :-) but Prof.Abinandanan need not have belittled himself to quote and apply it as he did... IMO.

    Jug Suraiya in another context:

    "...Narrow-minded priggishness posing as patriotism has long been one of the less attractive features of our national life..."


    That quote of Jug's takes him clear out of "scxxndrxl" class, and makes his current post a little surprising as well.

    This isnt worth a big to-do anyway. Bye.

    Best regards,

  14. Abi said...

    @Jai (at #12): Thanks for quoting that stuff from the end of Suraiya's post: "...Are those agitating for smaller states unwittingly falling into the ISI's snare? Or are their demands justified and, if met, will they buttress the republic, not break it?.."

    To me it's the same trash -- equating the demand for smaller states with treason (aka doing ISI's work) -- that he peddled at the beginning of his post. I wonder why you seem to quote that with approval (when you don't seem to agree with similar sentiments from the first part of his post). Where's the difference?

    Jai, tell me this: Why do you think unfair debating tactics -- e.g., willful vilification of opponents by Suraiya -- deserve respectful treatment and academic argument? What's wrong in calling a scoundrel a scoundrel?

    @Jai (at #13): Thanks for providing proof that Suraiya is not just a scoundrel, he's a hypocrite too -- one who wields the patriotism stick selectively.

  15. Anonymous said...

    yep, you are also a scoundrel abi, and a hypocrite to boot.

  16. Anonymous said...

    Hi again,

    1. I had left this thread until I saw something abt Arguments and Manners more recently. I didnt think there was too much to talk about. Sorry.

    FWIW, I read that quoted sentence as an "either-or". Though Suraiya leans more heavily towards one of the alternatives as is clear from the rest of his article.

    We probably differ on the weight of "unwittingly" in that quoted sentence and what it implies.

    We probably differ on "snare" and what it implies.

    We may differ on how often Jug comes in swinging against "priggish narrow-mindedness" than for it.

    But I think we do disagree on whether we need to continue this. :-)

    2. How one conducts themselves in disagreement is important to me, perhaps this post kind of goes in at DH2 (responding to tone). You should of course go with whatever feels right to you and the readership will decide their levels of (dis)comfort with it.